Percussionist Bernard ‘Touter’ Harvey, a musician who played on seven of Marley’s albums, recalls what made Bob so special.
Harvey who played with the reggae icon on hits including Legend, Natty Dread, and No Woman No Cry, hailed Marley’s creative skills at his ability to interpret and connect with regular folk.
“Bob could interpret his material in the sense that everybody could understand. He was singing common songs about common people.”
He referenced the line ‘Are you picking up?’ which means, Do you understand what I’m saying? This became a very popular line with the masses, but was really a line that was used by Gadman, leader of the 12 Tribes of Israel with whom Marley was close.
Working in the studio with Marley, Harvey recalled, was like going to college.
He said, “I really enjoyed working with Bob. It was going to school, and it was also quite a bit of experimenting. Bob stressed ‘create’ and that’s why the riddim tracks from 1978 still sound so fresh to this day. The first time I learnt about overdubbing multiple tracks was from a session with him. Bob Marley ting was a very positive ting.”
Harvey was looking forward to touring with the icon in New York but it got canceled after he fell ill. He says they all knew he was going but did not expect it so soon.
Bob Marley’s music remains a legendary sound among people all over the world today. If you have not yet caught the 75th anniversary celebrations going on since January, check it out HERE.